Death Threats Sent to Jerusalem Pride March Organizers, Lawmakers

The menaces mentioned 16-year-old Shira Banki who was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox man during the 2015 Pride Parade in Jerusalem

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The Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, last year.
The Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, last year. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Police launched an investigation on Wednesday after one of the organizers of the Jerusalem Pride March filed a complaint regarding threats she received on social media.

Labor lawmakers Naama Lazimi and Gilad Kariv also said they received threats ahead of the parade, known as the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance, which is slated to take place on Thursday.

"We will not allow the Pride Parade to take place in the Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a Holy City. The fate of Shira Banki awaits you," a message sent from an Instagram account by the name of "The brothers of Yishai Schlissel" read.

Shira Banki was a 16-year-old Israeli teen who was critically stabbed by ultra-Orthodox Yishai Schlissel during the Jerusalem Pride Parade in 2015.

In response, Lazimi said in a tweet that, "The hateful extremists will not stop until they see blood. This appalling message foreshadows the next murder."

Kariv tweeted that he had filed a report to the Knesset security officer, adding that "The depth and severity of these threats displays the extent of incitement against the gay community, incitement which has the support of rabbis, public officials, and media extremists.

"The threats only strengthen our determination to participate in pride events and stand by the gay community, in the Knesset and on the streets. My friends and I will march tomorrow in Jerusalem. I call on the democratic public to come out en masse."

The parade organizer who received the threats shared on Facebook that while she was getting her children ready to go to school, she received death threats, adding that "This is not the first time I wondered about the price they [my children] will pay for what I choose to do… But I go to work today like I do every day, with intent to fight hard for the world my children will grow up in."

In response, the police announced that thousands of cops, in uniform and undercover, will secure the Jerusalem parade, and that the officers will operate both along the route where the march is expected to pass and along the cross streets. Additionally, the police said they would allow a planned protest against the parade nearby, while working to prevent friction and maintain freedom of speech and protest in line with the law.

Last month, the first-ever Pride parade planned to take place in the southern Israeli town of Netivot was canceled over death threats against the mother of one of the organizers.

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